Riders on the Storm

A heap of :en:Pandalus borealis shrimp.

My friend Bryant and I were emailing back and forth the other day and we got on the topic (fairly quickly) of the economy and how the extended downturn is affecting everyone. There isn’t a business person I know who hasn’t seen a big change over the last 18 months, and I’m sure you and your business fall into that very large bucket.
As we went back and forth, Bryant laid his latest favorite quote on me, one from Mr. Gump, which struck me as something to which we all need pay attention and act accordingly.Bubba spent an awful lot of time teaching Forrest about life and business even though one might have thought it was just about shrimp. No, the quote isn’t the dozens of ways one can prepare shrimp (although you’re right to expect something like that from me). Rather, it’s this sage business advice:

Even though Bubba taught me everything he knew about shrimping, before the storm I found out that shrimping is hard. But after the storm, after all those boats but mine were sunk, shrimping was easy…

I love that.  When times are good, too many people assume that they’ve really got their business down when in fact it’s the rising tide that’s hidden the problems inherent in their management or maybe in the business itself.  As we’ve discussed before, business is fundamentally about solving problems your customers have.  How many people are out there trying to find solutions for problems that don’t exist?  Without the stress of a bad economy, how many flaws in the foundation of your team’s management or your spending and budgeting go untested?

Then times turn bad.  The storm blows away the lightweights, the ones who have rotten hulls, the captains who haven’t secured their boat for bad conditions.  Welcome to hurricane season, folks!

If you know it’s hard before the storm comes, you’ll be ready for the worst and alive when the sun comes back out.  Probably with a lot fewer competitors too.  Hard?  That’s why it’s called WORK!  Thanks, Bryant!  Thanks Forrest!

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